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Ann Fam Med. 2011 Jul-Aug;9(4):359-65. doi: 10.1370/afm.1267.

COOP/WONCA charts as a screen for mental disorders in primary care.

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University Hospital, Medical School of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Most people with mental disorders receive treatment in primary care. The charts developed by the Dartmouth Primary Care Cooperative Research Network (COOP) and the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies, and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians (WONCA) have not yet been evaluated as a screen for these disorders, using a structured psychiatric interview by an expert or considering diagnoses other than depression. We evaluated the validity and feasibility of the COOP/WONCA Charts as a mental disorders screen by comparing them both with other questionnaires previously validated and with the assessment of a mental health specialist using a structured diagnostic interview.


We trained community health workers and nurse assistants working in a collaborative mental health care model to administer the COOP/WONCA Charts, the 20-item Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20), and the World Health Organization-Five Well-Being Index (WHO-5) to 120 primary care patients. A psychiatrist blinded to the patients' results on these questionnaires administered the SCID, or Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition).


The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was at least 0.80 for single items, a 3-item combination, and the total score of the COOP/ WONCA Charts, as well as for the SRQ-20 and the WHO-5, for screening both for all mental disorders and for depressive disorders. The accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of these measures ranged between 0.77 and 0.92. Community health workers and nurse assistants rated the understandability, ease of use, and clinical relevance of all 3 questionnaires as satisfactory.


One-time assessment of patients with the COOP/WONCA Charts is a valid and feasible option for screening for mental disorders by primary care teams.

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